Euthanasia as an anthropological defeat and a modern failure of pietas and treatment

- Health Ministry -

EUTHANASIA AS AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL DEFEAT AND MODERN FAILURE OF PIETAS AND CARE

It would be interesting to point out, to the secularists who support euthanasia, that thanks to the work Of Crimes and Punishments of the illuminist Cesare Beccaria is beginning to be abolished, already in 1786, the death penalty by the judicial system of some states and kingdoms. Today, in the name of that same Enlightenment thought, the death penalty is reintroduced as a conquest of science and imposed as a merciful remedy no longer on public offenders but on innocent publics.

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Author
Ivano Liguori, Ofm. Capp.

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in the picture: Marco Cappato. Life truly belongs to us?

The recent and indecent positions taken of some "Catholic" politicians [you see WHO] as well as some religious Sui generis [you see WHO] who support the referendum on legal euthanasia open up different and worrying scenarios on the ethics of life that concern the rights and protection of the health of the sick. "Euthanasia and assisted suicide are in fact a clear defeat of those who theorize them, of those who decide them and those who practice them " [cf.. Good Samaritan Letter, V.1; Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, New Charter of Healthcare Professionals, n. 170] de facto introducing the patient into that modern anthropological failure that is no longer able to recognize the beauty and dignity of human life even when it is burdened by infirmity orhandicap.

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It forces you, therefore, to share ideological drifts that increasingly encourage the culture of waste and death in which man ends up being seen and perceived only on the basis of what he can give, to what it can do and to its autonomous support within the civil community. The human being who in sickness or in handicap has lost hope for a cure sees himself disowned and limited, in a completely arbitrary way, of their quality of life by those who no longer consider it satisfactory and worthy of being in the world of the healthy and valid.

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The most evident thing in these ethical drifts it consists in the complete loss of hope which is called to illuminate the future, even when it appears uncertain. Christianity has assumed hope as a theological virtue that proceeds directly from God as his Providence operates both in the last moments of man's life as well as in the first. In Christian hope, everything is grace, even that of a sick body [See. 2 Color 12, 9] in which the sufferings of the crucified Savior shine forth [See. With the 1, 24]. Thus, if the hope in healing has been lost it is still possible to rekindle the hope of the cure which is the same that the Savior claims for himself in the person of the hungry, of the thirsty, of strangers, of the poor, of the prisoners and the sick and dying [cf.. Mt 25, 31-46]. The Mattean remark of "you did it to me" has the merit of making us understand what the pietas in which all those sacred duties that man exercises towards other men are developed and which in the Gospel become providential grace in which God made man reveals himself as the subject of compassionate care. For this reason, as Christians, it is necessary to reiterate without fear of denial that euthanasia is not what one would like to believe today, that is, a worthy death but only a deceptive way of experiencing compassion and empathy towards the sick person, escaping the fatigue of taking care of him.

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The real individualism of the modern world, taken on an ordinary lifestyle, it impoverishes mutual relationships by increasing man's loneliness during the time of illness, thus leading the dying person to utter despair which makes him desire a quick and painless resolution of his own condition of infirmity by coming to choose, almost like a release, l'euthanasia. Here is the reason why today, in the face of a clouding of the most basic ethical and religious principles, the terminally ill represent today the most fragile and exposed category. We are facing a real humanitarian emergency that can no longer be ignored, since the civilization of a people and his own pietas they are measured - even before the advent of Christianity - on the basis of the care taken towards the weak, the children, seniors, the sick and the dying.

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THE PROTECTION OF TERMINAL SICKS AND THE PROHIBITION OF KILLING

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It is necessary at all costs to protect the terminally ill avoiding turning the last days of their earthly life into some sort of political battle either, worse, in a sort of social claim made by the usual familiar faces that, coincidentally, they are more attached than ever to their earthly existence. And yes, because among the many contradictions of modern secular thought, advocates of legal euthanasia wish for themselves a long life expectancy and think like perfect hypochondriacs in an attempt to ward off and exorcise diseases and health interventions. The same is true for the proponents of abortion who are born into the world thanks to mothers who are not ashamed to choose life for them, rejecting the very civil and responsible voluntary termination of pregnancy (Abortion). This alone would be enough to highlight the unreasonableness and illogicality of certain characters whose line of thinking tries to earn a prominent place in the great arena of national and foreign public opinion but which would be better set aside for the good of all.

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Leaving aside these secular contradictions, we begin to reason according to a solid Christian thought. going to the source which is the Holy Scripture that admonishes:

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"Son, do not neglect yourself in sickness, but pray to the Lord and he will heal you " [Sir 38, 9].

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This is the invitation of Sirach which is by no means a blind fideism as some might think. To say "do not neglect yourself in sickness" means two essential things: become aware of the care of one's body given freely by the Lord; take part in an action of care that is expressed within a journey of faith in the God of life and resurrection, with sacramental signs that are also therapeutic and within an active charitable action that accompanies the sick person as a traveling companion, especially when this is oriented towards the terminal phase of existence.

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Our body does not belong to us, it was given to us by God for a mission and is carried out with the collaboration of parents in the generative work. As a reality that has been granted borrowed, the body needs to be guarded and preserved from all those adverse events that threaten its integrity and physical and spiritual safety. And this does not apply only to the case of the disease but above all to the desperate euthanasia attempts which are themselves pathogenic events., before which it is necessary to question oneself starting from that fifth commandment of the Decalogue that he says: "You will not kill" [cf.. Is 20, 13].

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The commandment that forbids killing it is part of both divine and natural law. It is immutable and mandatory and no human legislator can repeal it without falling into an offense of authority and potestas. This is what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has clearly explained when it says:

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"Nobody, under any circumstances, can claim the right to directly destroy an innocent human being " [Instruction The gift of life, n. 5].

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Therefore, no human being innocent can be violated with the death procured both when it is in the womb and when it is in a sick bed. The innocence and innocence of the fetus, like that of the terminally dying person make all acts of abortion, eugenics and euthanasia pregnant with that blood of Abel that cries from the ground again vengeance before the throne of the divine judge [See. GN 4, 10].

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It would be interesting to point out, to the secularists who support euthanasia, that thanks to the work Of Crimes and Punishments of the illuminist Cesare Beccaria is beginning to be abolished, already in 1786, the death penalty by the judicial system of some states and kingdoms. Today, in the name of that same Enlightenment thought, the death penalty is reintroduced as a conquest of science and imposed as a merciful remedy no longer on public offenders but on innocent publics.

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RIGHT TO LIFE AND RIGHT TO DEATH

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Faced with these painful considerations it is necessary to reflect and leave in order to formulate a new idea of ​​quality of life, health and care. Logic has it that if the body becomes a personal possession, an item, it can also be (away)used in a selfish and despotic way, also from third parties, until its complete exhaustion, including death. Così come non può esistere un dispotico e arbitrario “diritto alla vita” a ogni costo e a qualunque prezzo, there cannot even exist a "right to death" that includes euthanasia even if they are very rare and sporadic. The right to life follows the providential disposition that God predisposes, which does not intend to give life to man as an object that can be arbitrarily disposed of. Life is oriented towards an end towards which man has the responsibility to direct himself: one's personal perfection according to God's plan and call [See. Pontifical Council One heart for human and Christian promotion, Document In the framework of, n. 2.1.1.]. This is the Christian approach to life which is based on the fact that

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"Man is called to a fullness of life that goes far beyond the dimensions of his earthly existence, since it consists in participation in the very life of God " [See. Gospel of Life n. 2].

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This supernatural call-vocation beyond God constitutes the greatness and preciousness of human existence even in its terminal phase which for the believer can never be considered as an "ultimate" reality, but if anything "penultimate" because on the way to that eschatological dimension that opens up to full life in which God will be all in all [cf.. 1Color 15,20-28]. For this reason, appears evident, how the life of each individual is a sacred reality that is entrusted to us so that we guard it with a sense of responsibility and bring it to perfection in love and in the gift of ourselves to God and to our brothers: from the recognition of pietas to the care and from the care to the pietas.

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THE GOOD SAMARITAN AND THE HOSPITAL CHURCH

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This is why the Church in its two-thousand-year tradition has always implemented, on the escort of Christ the Good Samaritan [cf.. LC 10, 29-37], all those corporal and spiritual works of mercy that have served to help man during his earthly pilgrimage. Man who, most of the time, he finds himself having to deal with his native frailty which involves both physical and soul evils. The Good Samaritan is the icon of the custody of life and the merciful exercise of care to the end. It does not judge man's assailants but works to ensure that these do not perish, although others have already given up assisting him and giving him a hope of survival. The Samaritan takes charge of the wounded man and delivers him in turn, so that others in his stead will care for him. He is not what we today would call a caregiver, he does not operate alone but within a healing community to which the image of the inn refers. Thus we introduce a clear ecclesiological image in which the community of faith, The Church, he welcomes the wounded from the hands of the Samaritan to lead him towards a timeless accompaniment: "Take care of him ... until ... my return" [LC 10, 35]. And this eschatological return is not only that of the Son of God in his glory but also the eschatological encounter in which man, ended his earthly life, it is reunited with the Creator.

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This ecclesiological vision is undoubtedly interesting that also the reigning Pontiff in his first interview with the magazine Catholic Civilization [you see WHO; WHO], recalls, defining and presenting the Church as a field hospital after a battle. This similarity which has sadly fallen away, in eight years of pontificate, within a series of clichés. By depriving this beautiful image of its original meaning, the paroxysm has been pushed by including markedly Christian terms - such as hospitality, welcome and care - within a hermeneutics emptied of the ecclesiological sense in favor of the socio-political and socio-political one. It is no coincidence that today we are surrounded by slogan that praise hospitality, to care for and take care of the abandoned, but, at the same time, we see the multiplication of slogan on euthanasia. Faced with this illogicality of thought, it becomes impossible and hypocritical to speak of unreserved acceptance, of loving and disinterested care to end up in the hospitality of the heart that claims to break down the dividing walls. It is not difficult to understand that all these things are praised for propaganda purposes and only for exclusive and certain categories of people. Impossible, therefore, the conciliation of opposites, of those who on the one hand fight for the weakest but in the name of those same weak ones are ready to propose death when the weakness of the disease makes any recovery impossible.

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TOWARDS TWO GOALS: "NO COMPASSION" AND "TAKEN CARE OF HIM" [LC 10,33-34].

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After these considerations and analyzes it seems necessary and urgent to return to the unique and true example of the Good Samaritan, which is Christ the Lord, who teaches his disciples to take care of the whole of the wounded man by introducing him to that field hospital inn which is the mother Church who, just as it generates life from the baptismal font, thus he immerses the dying person in the grace of mercy. I like to give two ideas for work that have the task of averting the temptation to euthanasia in Christians, they are not as a practice in itself but above all as an ethical vision of the end of life.

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To escape euthanasia we must have the compassion of the Good Samaritan which cannot be explained in other terms except as that maternal love that allows itself to be wounded. The Samaritan lets himself be vulnerable by that unfortunate person who appears on his way, the wounds of that man hit by the brigands are imprinted in his bowels in a kind of pitiful transverberation of the heart. He even goes so far as to risk losing his business in order to help those in front of him. There is an urgent need that leads him to with-suffer the weakness and suffering of the wounded man, just as there is a will to stay there in that moment of suffering and the cross, as we see in the example of Mary Most Holy on Golgotha. We are faced with a moral imperative that also becomes an imperative of assistance that creates a profound sensitivity towards those who are weak or injured, with the active desire to really alleviate their pains. True compassion and true compassionate take concrete actions and solutions with which it is possible to intervene and help the sick [cf.. B. Moriconi (1997), Compassion, In Dictionary of Pastoral Healthcare Theology, pp. 227-234, It. Camillians].

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We understand well that as Christians our pause in front of the terminally ill it can only be that of whoever wants with-suffer the natural conclusion of a human existence in which God revealed himself. If the terminal condition of the sick person does not hurt our bowels so much as to take on its weight, we will never feel the compassion of the Good Samaritan who opens up to effective human and spiritual assistance.. Aware that

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"There comes a time when there is nothing but recognizing the impossibility of intervening with specific therapies on a disease, which in a short time presents itself as mortal " [Letter Good Samaritan, The]

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The Christian begins to take charge of the dying with that maternal care which is closeness, removal of fear and abandonment, encouragement and trust in the risen Lord who conquers all mortal anguish. Only in this way will the sick feel surrounded by a loving presence, maternal, human and Christian and does not give in to the depression and anguish of those who feel abandoned to their destiny of suffering and death ask to put an end to it [Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, New Charter of Healthcare Professionals, n. 170].

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After having the right compassion for the dying you need to get busy with taking care of him, in fact it is always possible to cure even when it is no longer possible to heal. It is good to differentiate the skills and fields of assistance of specialist personnel, of the family and the ecclesial community. From a medical point of view, the facilities where the terminally ill are treated, the hospice, Nursing homes, they must be able to guarantee that essential medical care, palliatives that exclude any form of persistence. Same thing when the terminally ill is still in his home, doctors and specialists must be able to take action to ensure the necessary medical-nursing assistance by limiting all those conditions of pain and suffering that are connected with the terminal states of a disease. Anyway, both in healthcare facilities and in private homes, palliative care represents the best response of assistance to the physical needs of the patient and in fact avoids the euthanasia choice that reformulates the concept of care in an anticipated and medically assisted death [cf.. Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, New Charter of Healthcare Professionals, n. 147; John Paul II, Speech to the participants in the International Conference on Assistance to the Dying (17 March 1992), n. 5].

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Caring for the terminally ill it includes not only medical but psychological and spiritual needs, something that the Christian community must be able to do with solicitude and concern. Proclaiming the Gospel to the dying is fundamental to open to that hope that does not disappoint. Administer the sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick in time, to which the absolution of sins is annexed with a plenary indulgence, and the administration of the Holy Viaticum is the ordinary way in which a baptized Christian takes leave of this world to awaken in God.

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The exercise of charity towards the terminally ill it is realized by seeing in him the face of the suffering and dying Christ. This leads the ecclesial community to pray for the dying and ask for him, to the Eternal Father, the mercy of forgiveness and the grace of reconciliation of the whole life. It is a strong moment in which it is essential to let go of the faults of the past, the sins, the knots that have accumulated is a way to seek and give peace to each other. By forgiving the dying person's debts and allowing him to forgive ours, that mutual communion of charity is created that we all need to recognize ourselves as Christians and children of the Father who is in heaven., in which the perfection that does not operate by virtue of that logic not devoid of interests of those who do not know God becomes visible [See. Mt 5, 43-48].

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The family of the terminally ill is undoubtedly the most exposed, but also the one on which the greatest expectations of the dying fall. Dying surrounded by those we loved and who shared existence with us is an endless grace. In the same way, to be close in death to those we have loved as a parent, son, brother, friend is the most perfect form of communion of love that we can humanly realize in our earthly experience. This is why the presence of the family close to the dying person must be constant and privileged, no one can take the place of it. Despite this, the family needs to be intelligently supported in order not to succumb to the fatigue of separation from their loved one and the agony following the loss. The Christian community, as a healing community - healing community , stand side by side discreetly with these tried families, supporting them in all respects so as to imitate the solicitude of the Cyrene who helps to carry for a while the weight of the cross of Christ when he collapses to the ground. The Christian community is Servant and Healer, he is attentively present in suffering but acts in the care that is the diaconate of charity to favor integral health (salvation) of people.

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We Fathers de The island of Patmos, on a human and priestly level we fraternally share and keep in our hearts the tender memory of numerous terminally ill patients, or of elderly people who were gradually dying out like candles that have come to an end. This is because we also share another element: anyone who really wants to do theology or deepen certain particular branches of study and research, he must always do this starting from prayer and from human material. We are Priests of Christ instituted and consecrated doctors to cure the souls of men. The youngest among us, Father Gabriele, has been dealing with issues of life and disabilities since he was a novice in the Order of Preachers. The writer of these lines has spent years of his life in the wards of a large hospital. Padre Ariel, who has never carried out the ministry of parish priest and who has always dedicated himself to other tasks, he administered more anointings of the sick and was seated at the bedside of the sick more than often do parish priests of parishes in 10.000 baptized, if anything, because… engaged in meetings of the parish council. And when we enter a confessional, we often get out of it after hours, making up for the "lack of time" of various parish priests who, engaged in unspecified "pastoral activities", they don't have time to confess, forget that we have been consecrated priests to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice, preach the Holy Gospel, to forgive sins and assist the sick and dying, everything else takes a back seat, from the meetings of the parish council to the highest theological speculations. It is on this basis that we can explain to all those who think of escaping the pain of death with euthanasia, that often in pain and suffering is contained that great wisdom which makes us better men. Solve everything by fleeing sickness and pain with a "sweet death", it means not having understood why one was born, what is worth living for and why, one day, you have to die, if anything, even suffering.

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It is not easy to talk about the salvific element of pain and suffering to this now degenerate society, but if we don't, even at the cost of not being understood, or more easily at the risk of being misunderstood, we will betray in the worst way the mission entrusted to us by Christ who defeated death and made us sharers in his resurrection.

Laconi, 25 September 2021

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About Father Ivano

Ivano Liguori Dell'Ordine dei Frati Minori Cappuccini Presbitero e Teologo ( Click on the name to read all its articles )